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The Zahir

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The narrator of  The Zahir  is a bestselling novelist who lives in Paris and enjoys all the privileges money and celebrity bring. His wife of ten years, Esther, is a war correspondent who has disappeared along with a friend, Mikhail, who may or may not be her lover.

Was Esther kidnapped, murdered, or did she simply escape a marriage that left her unfulfilled? The narrator doesn’t have any answers, but he has plenty of questions of his own. Then one day Mikhail finds the narrator and promises to reunite him with his wife. In his attempt to recapture a lost love, the narrator discovers something unexpected about himself.

336 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2005

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About the author

Paulo Coelho

358 books130k followers
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist. In 1986, PAULO COELHO did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage. In the following year, COELHO published The Alchemist. Slow initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time. Other titles include Brida (1990), The Valkyries (1992), By the river Piedra I sat Down and Wept (1994), the collection of his best columns published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo entitle Maktub (1994), the compilation of texts Phrases (1995), The Fifth Mountain (1996), Manual of a Warrior of Light (1997), Veronika decides to die (1998), The Devil and Miss Prym (2000), the compilation of traditional tales in Stories for parents, children and grandchildren (2001), Eleven Minutes (2003), The Zahir (2005), The Witch of Portobello (2006) and Winner Stands Alone (to be released in 2009). During the months of March, April, May and June 2006, Paulo Coelho traveled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella in 1986. He also held surprise book signings - announced one day in advance - in some cities along the way, to have a chance to meet his readers. In ninety days of pilgrimage the author traveled around the globe and took the famous Transiberrian train that took him to Vladivostok. During this experience Paulo Coelho launched his blog Walking the Path - The Pilgrimage in order to share with his readers his impressions. Since this first blog Paulo Coelho has expanded his presence in the internet with his daily blogs in Wordpress, Myspace & Facebook. He is equally present in media sharing sites such as Youtube and Flickr, offering on a regular basis not only texts but also videos and pictures to his readers. From this intensive interest and use of the Internet sprang his bold new project: The Experimental Witch where he invites his readers to adapt to the screen his book The Witch of Portobello. Indeed Paulo Coelho is a firm believer of Internet as a new media and is the first Best-selling author to actively support online free distribution of his work.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,695 reviews
Profile Image for Sylvia.
89 reviews27 followers
June 28, 2008
I believe the quotation below will be sufficient to show how brilliant Coelho is:

‘Marie, let’s suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, while the other man’s face is completely clean. My question is this: which of the two will wash his face?

‘That’s a silly question. The one with the dirty face of course.’

‘No, the one with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks like him. And, vice versa, the man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself: I must be dirty too. I’d better have a wash.’

‘What are you trying to say?’

‘I’m saying that, during the time I spent in the hospital, I came to realize that I was always looking for myself in the women I loved. I looked at their lovely, clean faces and saw myself reflected in them. They, on the other hand, looked at me and saw the dirt on my face and, however intelligent or self-confident they were, they ended up seeing themselves reflected in me thinking that they were worse than they were. Please, don’t let that happen to you.’
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
December 25, 2021
O Zahir = The Zahir, Paulo Coelho

The Zahir is a 2005 novel by the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.

Just as in an earlier book, The Alchemist, The Zahir is about a pilgrimage. The book touches on themes of love, loss and obsession. The Zahir was written in Coelho's native language, Portuguese, and it has been translated into 44 languages. The Zahir means 'the obvious' or 'conspicuous' in Arabic.

The story revolves around the life of the narrator, a novelist, and in particular his search for his missing wife, Esther. He enjoys all the privileges that money and celebrity bring. He is suspected of foul play by both the police and the press, who suspect that he may have had a role in the inexplicable disappearance of his wife from their Paris home.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «زهیر»، «ظاهر»؛ نویسنده: پائولو کوئیلو؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نخست ماه مارس سال2004میلادی

عنوان: زهیر؛ نویسنده: پائولو کوئیلو؛ مترجم: آرش حجازی؛ تهران، کاروان، چاپ دوم سال1384، در436ص؛ شابک9648497303؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان برزیل - سده ی 20م

عنوان: ظاهر، مترجم: سوسن اردکانی؛ تهران، نگارستان کتاب، سال1385، شابک9648155402؛ در420ص؛

عنوان: زهیر، مترجم: دل آرا قهرمان؛ تهران، نشر فرزان روز، سال1394؛ در329ص؛ شابک9789643214319؛

عنوان: زهیر، مترجم: زهره معصومی؛ مشهد، آوای رعنا، سال1396؛ در350ص؛ شابک 9786007725009؛

زَهیر (به پرتغالی: او زهیر) عنوان رمانی از «پائولو کوئلیو» است؛ نامی که خود «کوئلیو» از واژه ی عربی «الظاهر» اقتباس کرده؛ اما از آنجا که بار معنایی «ظاهر» فارسی با همتای عربی‌ خویش یکی نبود، در نهایت با مشورت با نویسنده، نام کنونی «زهیر» بر نسخه ی فارسی کتاب نهاده شد؛ عنوان «زهیر» از داستان «خورخه لوئیس بورخس» اقتباس شده «بورخس» مفهوم «زهیر» را وامدار به سنت اسلامی میداند، و میاننگارند، در آغاز سده ی هجدهم میلادی، مطرح شده باشد؛ «زهیر یا الظاهر» در عربی، یعنی «بیش از حد تابناک»، «مرئی»، «حاضر»، چیزی که نمیتوان نادیده اش گرفت؛ چیزی یا کسی که، وقتی برای نخستین بار، با آن ارتباط پیدا میکنیم، اندیشه ی ما را از آن خود میکند، تا جاییکه نمیتوانیم به چیزهای دیگر بیندیشیم؛

نقل از کتاب: (دو آتش نشان وارد جنگلی میشوند، تا آتش کوچکی را خاموش کنند؛ آخر کار وقتی از جنگل بیرون میآیند و میروند کنار رودخانه، صورت یکیشان کثیف، و پر از خاکستر، و صورت آن یکی به شکل معصومانه ای تمیز است؛ پرسش: کدامشان صورتش را میشوید؟ اشتباه کردید، آن که صورتش کثیف است، به آن یکی نگاه میکند، و فکر میکند صورت خودش هم همانطور است؛ اما آن که صورتش تمیز است میبیند که سرتاپای رفیقش را غبار گرفته است، و به خودش میگوید: حتما من هم کثیفم، باید خودم را تمیز کنم؛
برایم دنیایی خلق کن که وقتی احتیاج دارم بتوانم به آن پناه ببرم، دنیایی که آنقدر دور نباشد، که به نظر برسد مستقل از تو زندگی میکنم و آنقدر نزدیک نباشد که به نظر برسد میخواهم به دنیای تو تجاوز کنم)؛ پایان نقل

در این رمان، «پائولو» ضمن اشارات فراوان، به زندگی شخصی خویش، داستانی بسیار شجاعانه، ارائه داده، آکنده از عناصری که هر خوانشگری را، به بازاندیشی، در کنش و باورهای خود، وامی‌دارد؛ راوی (نویسنده) همسرش «استر» را دوست دارد؛ همسر او، ناپدید میشود، و ردی از او نمیماند...؛ از او فقط «زهیر» میماند؛ «زهیر» با یک نظر ساده و همان اندیشه ی گذرا، آغاز میشود، اما ذهن و روح انسان را، تسخیر میکند؛ نویسنده ای مشهور ‍پی میبرد، که همسرش که خبرنگار جنگ است، ناپدید شده، و اثری از او نیست؛ هرچند، گذر زمان برای این نویسنده، موفقیت بیشتر، و عشقی تازه به همراه میآورد، اما غیبت همسرش، او را سرگشته نگاه میدارد؛ چه بر سر همسرش آمده؟ او را دزدیده اند، کشته اند، یا فقط از زندگی زناشویی اش خسته شده و رفته؟

جستجوی نویسنده، به دنبال همسرش؛ و حقیقت زندگی خودش؛ او را از «فرانسه» به «اس‍پانیا»، «کرواسی»، و سرانجام به دشتهای غم انگیز و زیبای «آسیای میانه» میکشاند، و فراتر از اینها، ایشان را از محیط امن دنیای خودش، به جاده ای کاملا ناشناخته میبرد، به دنبال ادراکی تازه از معنای عشق و قدرت سرنوشت؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 07/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 03/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jen.
534 reviews
October 29, 2012
So far my least favorite of Coelho's books. A woman leaves her husband with no explanation to find out how to be happy. She leaves no note, no messenger, takes nothing, just seems to disappear. He finds himself in the journey and learns he needs to look for her because he loves her, not because he is obsessed. Along the way other hearts get broken.


"When someone leaves, it's because someone else is about to arrive - I'll find love again."

"In order to be able to find her, I first had to find myself"

"The energy of hatred won't get you anywhere; but the energy of forgiveness, which reveals itself through love, will transform your life in a positive way."

"in love there is neither good nor evil, there is neither construction nor destruction, there is merely movement. And love changes the laws of nature."

"Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused."

"The most important thing in a ll human relationships is conversation, but people don't talk anymore, they don't sit down to talk and listen"
Profile Image for Rusalka.
374 reviews112 followers
August 29, 2012
1 star. Self-congratulatory, conceited wankery. Only earns it's 1 as the prose was easy to read and well written for what it was. If you would like to read a book about how fantastic Coelho thinks he is, this is for you.

By demand, my blog post on this book:

I am just going to come out and say it.

Paulo Coelho is a knob.

I dislike this man, his opinions and his writing. I have read The Alchemist and the The Fifth Mountain in the past and have felt that they were completely over rated. Then a friend links all these "insightful" quotes from him all the time on Facebook. And then there is this article from earlier this month. But all of these were forgivable. Until I read this book. This book lead me to one conclusion.

Paulo Coelho is a complete wanker.

This book, The Zahir, is about an amazing author who is famous, incredibly successful with the ladies, intelligent, accomplished, and did I mention a brilliant writer? Maybe I need to tell you again how good a writer the author is. He is married, but has many girlfriends as he is incredibly attractive, and his wife who is a journalist goes missing. He mopes for a bit, while being a brilliant, amazing writer, but then gets an actress girlfriend. He then gets approached by a man who knows where his wife is, and he has to rediscover himself, by writing another ground-breaking book and some other stuff, before he can go find her. But the actress stays with him until he leaves, because he's great.

In case you forget how wonderful he is, he points out randomly how many languages (nearly all the languages in the world) he has been translated into. The books themselves, while wonderful, are not him or his ideas. 'Everything that's written in my books is part of my soul...' (p101). Yeah right. Get your hand off it.

Also he mentions the Zimbardo prison experiment at one stage, because he can. Why? No idea. It wasn't important or necessary. It was in fact completely out of place, not to mention wrong, and seemed to be mentioned to show off how intelligent he was.

My "favourite" part, was after he came home from spending all night out wandering Paris with the "Tribe" and then come home and didn't want to turn on the tv because they had "run out of things to talk about" so were covering a story of a rebellion in Haiti. So he goes on this whole rant about how is a rebellion important to him as a rich, incredibly successful author in Paris! Who cares! I just wanted to slap him the narrow minded prick! Urgh.

As well as all of this he seems incredibly unhinged as well. He screams at his girlfriend after being out all night with the Tribe, mentioned above, and she doesn't ask him where he was. So therefore as she is not jealous (not interested, jealous) he screams at her for not loving him any more. Besides the fact he has been moaning on about his wife who he loves who has left him for the whole book. I was beyond loving him at p5, no wonder the girlfriend seemed to have had enough by p200. But she hadn't really. She really thought he was great. You know why? Because this unnamed author is fucking fantastic, just ask him.

Why did I finish it? Because I wanted to find out what happened to his wife and girlfriend as I liked them (not worth it, it ended all about him), it was only 270pp, and it was orange (for a rainbow challenge). It gets 1.5 stars as it was well written for self-congratulatory masturbation. Actually, no. After writing this, 1.


For more reviews visit http://rusalkii.blogspot.com.au/
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Issa Deerbany.
374 reviews401 followers
March 17, 2018
الظاهر كلمة من التراث الاسلامي وتعني الواضح ، البائن، الجلي.

وهذا الشيء نتعلق به ونحبه ونتقرب منه اكثر وبعد ذلك نتعود عليه ثم تبدأ حياتنا الرتيبة . ولكننا عندما نفقده نشعر كم هو مهم انا ونعيد التفكير بهذا الظاهر .

رواية فلسفية عن هذا الظاهر يقدم فيها باولو كويلو دعوته الى التخلي عن حياتنا المعاصرة وجعلها الحكم على كل شيء، والدعوة الى الحياة الطبيعية التي ليس فيها حب المادة والآلات التي تحيط بِنَا.

الدعوة الى الحياة في الطبيعة الرائعة والتأمل لمعرفة حقيقة نفسك متجردا من اَي اثر للحياة المادية.

يفقد زوجته التي لم تعد تعرف ان كان يحبها ام لا . وربما لتشعره بأن حبه قر فتر واصبح شعورا عاديا بحكم العادة.

الرواية فيها جمال السرد ولكن فيها تطويل حسب رأيي.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,828 reviews479 followers
January 25, 2023
I don't like it when the author starts to talk about spirituality; it's the favorite theme of "Coelho" that I respect, but I appreciate it MORE when he talks about life in general!
I liked some parts of the Zahir and hated others!
Profile Image for Odai Al-Saeed.
867 reviews2,382 followers
April 14, 2011
هذه الرواية الثانية لي مع باولو كويليو ولا ادري ان كانت الترجمة هي المشكلة في هذا السرد الممل ام هو اسلوب الراوي .الرواية فيها تطويل ممل ووصف رتيب لدرجة انك تفقد القدرة على اكمال القراءة .احداث الرواية تدور في محور ضيق فيها بعض المشوقات والعبر الجميلة .ولكن اعتقد ان هناك ما يستحق القراءة اجود بكثير .
Profile Image for Ninoska Goris.
256 reviews156 followers
April 13, 2017
Uno de mis libros favoritos de todos los tiempos.

Te deja con grandes decisiones a tomar en tu vida.

Profile Image for Nour Sharif.
292 reviews84 followers
March 15, 2013
2.6 stars
Okay, dear dear Paulo Coelho. Where do I start?

This is how this book briefly was written.


Careful, this review contains spoilers!
Profile Image for Shwan Majeed.
200 reviews158 followers
May 15, 2018
مغامرة ورحلة اخرى مليئة ب التشويق الاثارة من قبل الكاتب الرائع باولو كويلو, في هذه الرواية لم يبتعد باولو كويلو عن اسلوبه في التعمق والتدخل في العمق الانساني والرحلات لأكتشاف الذات والايمان ب داخلنا, هذه الرحلة تدخلك الى عالم مختلف بعض الشيء عن بقية الرحلات في دخول الى عمقك وبلأخص الصوت الداخلي او الشيء الذي يقدوك من اعماقك بشكل يمكن ان تكون صائبة بشكل أكبر وهي طريق حدسك والامل الموجود في داخلك الذي يأتي منه بكل هذه الاشياء.
ما ذكره باولو كويلو في هذه الرواية بشكل متعمق اكثر وغير ظاهر في الكثير من اجزاء الرواية والتي حسب رأي الشخصي هي من اكبر اساسيات هذه الرواية هي (الأنانية) الذي قادنا لأكتشاف هذه المغامرة واكيد سوف تكتشف فيه اكثر عندما تتعمق اكثر في الرواية.
لقرأتي للكثير من روايات باولو كويلو هذه الرواية الاولى عندي الذي شرح فيه الكاتب اسم الكتاب من المقدمة وليس كباقي الروايات الذي كنت تكتشفه داخل رواية بنفسك وبشكل غموضي اكثر ما تكون واضح او سهل.
من الاشياء الجميلة و المشوقة هو دخول الكاتب الى وسط قارة اسيا والتكلم عنه بصورة جميلة, وهي كيف هذه الدول هي مهمشة دولية على رغم وجود الكمية الكبيرة من الثقافات الغنية فيه, وهذه طبعا بسبب الحروب والمشاكل التي عصفت في ذالك المكان.
هذه الرواية جميلة ولكن مدققة ب التفاصيل الحوارات العميقة ويجب ان تقراءه بشكل دقيق وتركيز.

Adventure and another journey full of suspense and excitement by the wonderful writer Paolo Coelho, in this novel Paolo Coelho did not go away from his style of depth and intervention in the depth of humanity and trips to discover self and faith within us, this trip you enter the world a bit different from the rest of the flights in the entry to Your depth and especially the inner voice or the thing that brings you from your depths in a way that could be more correct is the way of your intuition and hope that is inside you, which comes from all these things.
What Paolo Coelho said in this novel is more profound and unseen in many parts of the novel which, according to my personal opinion, is one of the most fundamental tenets of this novel (selfishness) that led us to discover this adventure and certainly will discover more when it goes deeper into the novel.
To read many of Paulo Coelho's novels, this is my first novel, in which the author explained the name of the book from the introduction, and not like any other novels that you have discovered in a novel yourself, in a way that is more obvious or easier.
One of the most beautiful and fascinating things is the author's entry into the middle of Asia and how to speak of it beautifully, how these countries are marginalized internationally despite the large amount of rich cultures in it, and this is of course because of the wars and problems that have afflicted the place.
This novel is beautiful but closely scrutinized by the deep dialogues and you should read it accurately and focus.
Profile Image for Reshma.
27 reviews6 followers
January 22, 2009
I have to say, at times I found myself obsessed with this book about obsession. At times, it didn't quite flow or seemed to bring in random points, but I felt like I just "got it" and completely understood where he was coming from. Coelho's words resonated deeply within me, and in fact, helped me to "see" and unlock some feelings that I haven't been able to understand for quite some time. In that sense, it was like an Eat, Pray, Love for me. Not to compare authors, literary styles, or anything like that - I'm only making the comparison in terms of what both books evoked in me. So for those of who you weren't such fans of Ms. Gilbert's book, don't let that dissuade you from reading this one.

A few quotes from the Zahir that I particularly liked were:

"...I came to realize that I was always looking for myself in the women I loved."

"...I had convinced myself that I could only be happy with her, not because I loved her more than anything and anyone in the world, but because I thought only she could understand me; she knew my likes, my eccentricities, my way of seeing the world.......I was used to seeing the world through her eyes."

"...suffering occurs when we want other people to love us in the way we imagine we want to be loved, and not in the way that love should manifest itself - free and untrammeled, guiding us with its force and driving us on."

Profile Image for Clare.
41 reviews3 followers
November 26, 2007
I was diasspointed with this and I would consider myself a fan of Paolo Coelho. I just don't think this lived up to his usual work. The plot was weak and there was a lot of annoying, sentimental stream-of-consciousness drivel about the meaning of love and the meaning of life. It's true that these are Coelho's usual themes but I think he's gotten a bit carried away with all the sentiment in this novel and forgotten the story in the process. The only thing that kept me reading until the end was my enduring hate of the main character....he's one of those 'love to hate him' characters.
Profile Image for زهرة منصور.
201 reviews94 followers
May 20, 2012
الزهير هي نطق آخر للكلمة العربية الظاهر والتي تعني الشئ الواضح أو الذي لا يمكن المرور دون ملاحظته. تدور القصّة حول الراوي صاحب الروايات الأكثر رواجاً، وبحثه لزوجتِه المفقودة. يتمتّع بطل الرواية بكلّ الامتيازات ومن ذلك المال والشهرة ولكنه مشكوك فيه من السلطات والصحافة بسبب الاختفاء الغير قابل للتوضيح لزوجته من بيتهم في باريس. يستكشف كويلو معاني مختلفة للحب والحياة من خلال الرواية(ويكيبيديا)
كعادة باولو كويليو أبهرني في (الزهير) لكنه فاجأني في النهاية لم تكن مناسبة لمستوى الرواية وما تحويه من جمال .وبشكل عام رائعة بطاقة الحب و لأنها تعطينا مهلة من الوقت نختلي بأنفسنا ونفكر أين وصلنا وماذا فقدنا؟ فهي تتحدث عن قيمة الشيء عند فقدانه وما يشكله من هاجس للأنسان فتجعلنا نتعمق أكثر بحياتنا كي نفهمها لنعرف كيف نعيشها. تشبه الخيميائي بفلسفتها لكنها هذه المرة رحلة لاكتشاف معنى الحب .

(العذاب يحدث عندما نرغب في ان يحبنا الاخر بالطريقة التي نتصورها وليس بالطريقة التي يجب ان يتجلى الحب فيها حرا بلا قيود ليرشدنا بقوة ويحول دون توقفنا)
(نعيش معتقدين اننا نعرف ماهية الحب .. لكننا سنفتقر دوما الى الشجاعة ��مواجهته على حقيقته )،
الحب قوة غير مروَّضة عندما نحاول السيطرة عليها تدمرنا عندما نحاول اسرها تستعبدنا عندما نحاول فهمها ترمينا في الضياع والارتباك

يخبرنا الكون متى نخطىء عندما ينتزع منا أغلى ما لدينا .. أي اصدقاءنا
Author 0 books248 followers
August 1, 2020
The Zahir tells an incredible journey of a man whose wife has left the house without letting him know.

His search for her and the meaning of their marriage and above all, Paulo Coelho's writing is spectacular to watch.
Profile Image for Niledaughter.
82 reviews333 followers
April 21, 2010
The (Zahir) is a concept that was totally new to me , I had to do some further research to find out that it is related to the Sufi , I read the book in English but after noticing the Arabic edition , I would have preferred if it was titled (Al zaher الظاهر ) as a translation not as a repetition !
I liked the definition he reached at the ednd :
(The zahir was the fixation on everything that had been passed from generation to generation ; it left no question unanswered , it looks up all the space ; it never allowed us even to consider the possibility that things could change )

This book represented a lot of interesting thoughts concerning marriage institution ..happiness ..selfishness , how can our relation with our beloved ones collapse when we loose ourselves to our own individual interests & stop to share ..listen & understand , he dealt more caring about the meaning of commitment & freedom , from my side I was not compassionate with the protagonist , but his experience made me make more effort on concentration on my own life .
This my 3rd book for Coelho , his spiritual world takes me through multiple journeys among various religions , from Judaism , Christianity & Islam To Paganism , sometimes it makes me uncomfortable , but from anther side it is interning to see the variety in human accumulated reactions towards – or understanding of – life & her mysterious phenomena .
Profile Image for Cheryl.
464 reviews583 followers
September 2, 2019
The Zahir is "someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness." This, and the spellbinding dedication page to Coelho's wife, Christina, made me want to read this novel. Plus, the story initially lured me. A writer's war correspondent wife goes missing. At first he's treated like a suspect until it's determined that she wasn't abducted. But where did she go and why did she leave him? Who did she leave with? The otherness of their relationship appeals. Imagine settling in with this book to see how the story ebbs and flows, to see where the self-revelatory journey takes the main character. Only to be disappointed later.

A year later, I wake thinking about the story by Jorge Luis Borges, about something which, once touched or seen, can never be forgotten, and which gradually so fills our thoughts that we are driven to madness. My Zahir is not a romantic metaphor - a blind man, a compass, a tiger, or a coin. It has a name, and her name is Esther.

This book doesn't end the way you would think. In fact, what happens in between this search, what the narrator uncovers, isn't what you would have envisioned. The events that center around spirituality and self actualization, events that center around the energy placed into the world by certain thoughts or actions, sometimes come across as trivial, and in some instances, forced. And those restaurant scenes, how people who live in poverty, and people who choose a different path in spiritual and physical life are depicted, were just exasperating. The gist is, a man is on a quest to love the wife he's undervalued for years (although he has a lover at home), and in this quest he meets people whose lives she's inspired, even if you don't truly get to see the evolution in these lives. I'm not sure which one bothered me the most: that the first part of the book didn't realistically set the plot, the continuous parables inside of dialogue, seeing the perspective of the character Mikhail often (instead of Esther's), the allusion to the zahir that didn't feel quite like one, and something else that I won't say because of spoilers. In any case, read if you simply want to try another Coelho book, or if you want to compare it to the last. Who knows, it could be your cup of tea.
Profile Image for nadia.
41 reviews36 followers
May 12, 2007
wow. do you know how and when i discovered this author? at the airport bookstore- at la guardia, the american terminal-the one next to the dunkin donuts/baskin robbins that one must ignore... you know how difficult it is to find something worthwhile to read in the airport bookstore, and i was about to buy something else- this book was in the low corner pocket and i saw it. the cover, and the title, are enticing, but could have been just over the top. but i usually test drive books buy opening them up, right in the middle, and just reading a paragraph. ah, love. i was so lucky.

looking forward to continuing with this author.
Profile Image for Kyriakos Sorokkou.
Author 6 books193 followers
August 2, 2019
Αγαπητέ αναγνώστη, προσοχή.
Αν θες να διαβάσεις αυτό το αριστουργηματικό (νοτ) βιβλίο του Παύλου Κοελλίδη (το λι όπως της Αμαλίας στο Παρά Πέντε) σταμάτα τώρα γιατί ακολουθούν σπόιλερς.
Αν πάλι είσαι φαν του Παύλου σταμάτα επίσης. Δεν θα μιλήσω ωραία.

Πριν να μπω στα σπόιλερς, να εκφράσω την γνώμη μου γι' αυτό το μυθιστόρημα(?)


Η Πλοκή
Απ' όσο θυμάμαι ένας πετυχημένος συγγραφέας (κάτι σαν τον Κοέλο) χάνει την γυναίκα του και την αναζητά (όχι στη Σαλονίκη, αλλά στην Γαλλία και στο Καζακστάν). Μετά από ένα μεγάλο οδοιπορικό την βρίσκει, τα λένε, φεύγει μόνος του και. δατς ιτ. . .

Να μην ξεχνάμε όμως ότι καθ όλη την διάρκεια του οδοιπορικού, ο Κοέλο μέσα πάντα απ' το στόμα του πετυχημένου συγγραφέα μας πλάσαρε διάφορες αμπελοφιλοσοφίες τύπου, Η αγάπη είναι η μεγαλύτερη δύναμη και λοιπά. Αυτά μας τα 'πε και ο Χάρι Πότερ, που με την αγάπη εξαφάνισε τον Βόλντεμορτ για 10-13 χρόνια, ιστορία που όμως είχε και δράση και ενδιαφέρον.

Του Κοελλίδη το βιβλίο ήταν επαναλαμβανόμενο, μονότονο, κουραστικό, ήθελα να το κάψω (αλλά ευτυχώς το δανείστηκα) και αθλίως ανιαρό. Ένα μείγμα φιλοσοφοθρησκευτικοσυναισθηματικοαφορισμων.
Ο πρωταγωνιστής ήταν νευρωτικός, εγωιστής, κλαψο-παραπονιάρης, σεξιστής (όλες οι γυναίκες ενδιαφέρονται μόνο στο πως είναι εμφανισιακά κλπ)

Βασικά η πλοκή ήταν μια αφορμή για να μας πλασάρει την δική του εκδοχή του Αγάπη μόνο
Και Κοέλο, μιας και μου θύμισες τον κλαρινογαμπρό εκείνον, πάρε 1,5 αστεράκια.
Profile Image for Lina AL Ojaili.
543 reviews70 followers
August 21, 2014
عندمــا لــم يبـق لي ما أخسره ، أعطيت كل شئ . عندما كففت عن كوني نفسي ، وجدتها . وعندما خبرت الذلّ وبقيت أمضي ، أدركت أنني حُـرّ في اختيار قدري . لعل بى خطبا ., لا ادرى , لعل زواجى لم افهمه عندما عشته . ما اعرفه هو ان بامكانى العيش من دونها , لا ازال اود رؤيتها مجددا , لاقول لها ما لم اتفوه به عندما كنا معا : احبك اكثر من حبى لنفسى ولو امكننى قول ذلك , لتمكنت عندها من المضى فى حياتى , بسلام مع روحى , لان ذلك الحب افتدانى

Profile Image for Pardis.
83 reviews118 followers
February 8, 2018
"بسيار مهم است كه بگذاريم بعضى چيزها بروند، رهايشان كنيم، آزادشان كنيم. انسان ها بايد درك كنند كه هيچ كس با كارت هاى علامت دار بازى نمى كند، گاهى مى بريم، گاهى هم مى بازيم. منتظر نباشيد چيزى را به شما برگردانند، منتظر نباشيد قدر تلاشتان را بدانند، نبوغتان را كشف كنند، عشقتان را درك كنند. چرخه ها را ببنديد. نه به خاطر غرور يا بى قابليتى يا برترى جويى، به خاطر آنكه آن چيز ديگر در زندگى تان جاى نميگيرد. در را ببنديد، موسيقى را عوض كنيد، خانه را تمييز كنيد، غبارها را بتكانيد. ديگر آن كسى نباشيد كه بوديد، و كسى بشويد كه هستيد."
Profile Image for senjuti .
15 reviews20 followers
June 1, 2021
It took me a year to finish this book. There are two reasons- 1. I am too busy and 2. This book is indeed too lengthy, started with a simple incident (A famous writer living in Paris whose wife is a war correspondent. After being married for ten years, one day she left, without any trace.) and the writer clung to that incident and elongated (unnecessarily) the book.
I started to read this book in spite of reading all sorts of negative reviews and ratings on Goodreads. I did not have high expectation from this book. I love to read Paulo Coelho's books because his books always give me some questions to think through. I read a number of his books. All the books promoted the same thing, yet they have different questions of their own. What I love about this book are the quotes. I loved this particular conversation. This was part of an interview which the wife of the writer, Esther took once. She was arguing with her husband about, people are not happy:
'No, what they say is: "When the children have grown up, when my husband- or my wife- has become more my friend than my passionate lover, when I retire, then I'll have time to do what I always wanted to do: travel." Question: "But didn't you say you were happy now? Aren't you already doing what you always wanted to do?" Then they say they are very busy and change the subject.'
This part got me thinking, am I happy with my life? I got no clear answer from my heart. Like the person that Esther interviewed, I have everything that a person can think of, and yet I think of doing something I always wanted to do. It's contradictory, isn't it?
Another favourite part of mine:
"Our children must follow in our footsteps: after all, we are older and know about the world.
We must have a university degree even if we never get a job in the area of knowledge we were forced to study.
We must study things that we will never use, but which someone told us important to know: algebra, trigonometry, the code of Hammurabi.
We must never make our parents sad, even if it means giving up everything that makes us happy."
This particular excerpt summarizes my life that I am leading now. When you are a depressed engineering student, all you love is some veracities from a foreign writer. Those veracities are your words written in the magic of another person, in this case, writer Paulo Coelho.
Therefore, if I cut through the re-iterating part of this book, this book is not at all that bad.

3.5 stars actually.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
2 reviews2 followers
March 3, 2008
Typical Coelho...lots of really good quotes. whether you agree with them or not does not really matter but he makes you think by hitting the extremes.

When i get time i will type my favorite two pages which I think summarize the whole book. here are some others.

"Although I know that I may have lost forever the woman I love, I must try to enjoy all the graces that God has given me today. Grace cannot be hoarded. There are no banks where it can be deposited to be used when I feel more at peace with myself. If I do not make full use of these blessings, I will lose them forever.
God knows that we are all artists of life. One day he gives us a hammer with which to make sculptures, another day he gives us brushes and paints with which to make a picture, or paper and a pencil to write with. But you cannot make a painting with a hammer, or a sculpture with a paintbrush. Therefore, however difficult it may be, I must accept today's small blessings, even if they seem like curses because I am suffering and it's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and the children are singing in the street. This is the only way I will manage to leave my pain behind and rebuild my life." (p.292)

"...suffering occurs when we want other people to love us in the way we imagine we want to be loved, and not in the way that love should manifest itself - free and untrammeled, guiding us with its force and driving us on."

Profile Image for Toby.
65 reviews2 followers
February 3, 2008
A great book for anyone struggling with attachment or ownership of something that you love.

"I heard other people speaking in the name of freedom and the more they defended this unique right, the more enslaved the seemed to be to the parent's wishes, to a marriage in which they had promised to stay with the other person "for the rest of their lives," to the bathroom scales, to their diet, to the half-finished projects, to lovers to whom they were incapable of saying "No", or "It's over", to weekends when they were obliged to have lunch with people they didn't even like. Slaves to luxury, to the apperance of luxury, to the appearance of the appearance of luxury. Slaves to a life they had not chosen, but which they had decided to live because someone had managed to convince them that it was all for the best. And so their identical days and nights passed, days and nights in which adventure was just a word in a book or an image on the television that was always on, and whenever a door opened, they would say "I'm not interested, I'm not in the mood."
Profile Image for Hanan Dora.
37 reviews32 followers
November 7, 2012
فقدت رغبتى فى كتابة ريفيوهات منذ فترة ولكن بأكتب برضه
الموقف هنا يختلف أنا لا أريد كتابة ريفيو لأنى لا أعلم ماذا أكتب ؟!
الرواية اصعب من أن تدرك وأعمق من أن لا تدرك
موجودة فى كل شىء حين تكون لا شىء
ولن تجد شىء حين تظن أنك كل شىء
حين تقرأ الروايات فى المواصلات الأمر يختلف خاصة فى وقت باكر أو وقت متأخر حين يكون الهواء نقيا إلى حد ما فهى تحتاج إلى فضاء حتى تدرك أن هناك أشياء فى اللا شىء !
حدث البيئة
حدث السماء
حدث " الآخرين "
حدث القديم و ودعه بشجاعة راحل
و حدث الجديد واستقبله بحبور مستقبل !
حدث نفسك
الظاهر لم أسمع منها قبل أن أتطرق لهذه الرواية
لكل منا ظاهره !
ماذا اذا كان ظاهرك نفسك ؟!
الرحيل الذى يغرينى بشدة بشدة وأجد فيه الخلاص فى كل مرة يؤكد لى كويلو أنه حقا هو الحل !
فى أجزاء كتير م الرواية كنت أتوقف وأشك أنها خرافات , تلك الروحانيات خرافات ولكن شىء بداخلى يكذب ذلك !
عشقت استر بشدة بشدة , وجدتها قوية لأبعد حد فالقوة توجد فى هؤلاء الذين يتخلون عن كل شىء من أجل كل شىء !
ميخائيل لم أحبه لا أعرف لماذا ؟!
دوس شعرته بطل الرواية الحقيقى !
مارى لم أشعر بوجودها أصلا وهى نحن حين لا يرانا الآخرون !!
حلقة وصل الرواية كلها تلك القطعة من القماش بدمها ’ أتسائل لو كانت معى هل كانت ستغير شىء ؟!
البطل صورة أخرى من سانتياغو فى الخيميائى نفس الهدف لن يختلف , الكاتب يدور حول نفس الفكرة , روح العالم والأسطورة الشخصية !
قانون جانت أول مرة أسمع عنه , فسر لى الكثير , " كلكم جانت وكلكم مسئول عن جانته ::P
ال 4 نجمات من أجل النهاية التى لم تعجبنى كثيرا , ولن أحرقهها !
كنت فقط أريد استر pure كما أردتها دائما !
مسيو باولو , ليه دايما بتستغل عشقى الشديد للصحراء ؟!
Profile Image for Walid Elalfy.
158 reviews119 followers
August 17, 2011
هى ليست روايه بالمفهوم الصحيح . باولوا كويلهوا اوهمنا ان هناك روايه مثله مثل يوسف زيدان فى ظل الافعى هو اختلاق مواقف لشخوص معينه لبث فلسفته فى الحياه . استغربت من تصنيف الاخوه الذين سبقونى فى تصنيف الروايه فجزء كبير منهم اتهم الكاتب بالتطويل والروايه بالمط والملل ولم يدركوا ما بين السطور وما يريد ان يرسله لنا الكاتب . باولوا كويليهو هذا المتصوف الزاهد ارسل لنا حكمته فى الحوار بين سانتياجو وساحر الصحراء فى روايه الخيميائى وارسل نا نفس الحكمه فى رحله العاهره فى احدى عشره دقيقه وها هنا يرسلها لنا مع ميخائيل ومع الكاتب نفسه . اتوهم انها السيره الذاتيه للكاتب واعتقد انه يرسل الى زوجته الاعتذار عما فعله سابقا ويخبرها انه توصل للحكمه من الحياه وانتصر على خوفه ويقدم لها عرفانه بالجميل ولو رجعنا فى اهدائه الروايه لادركنا ذلك . لى عاده فى القراءه ان اعلم بالقلم رصاص بجانب الصفحات التى تحمل معانى لاعود لها دائما واعترف ان روايه الزهير بالاضافه الى عزازيل وقمر على سمرقند ونقطه النور هى من اكثر الروايات التى حملت لى هوامش . الزهير هى رساله دسمه من رجل وصل الى حد ما الى النضج وهى رساله مغلفه داخل مواقف .
روايه محترمه ولكن اطلب منها الفلسفه والمعان اكثر من طلبك لحبكه دراميه وروابط وتسلسل فى الاحداث
Profile Image for Dominic Carrillo.
Author 6 books65 followers
December 8, 2012
I liked The Alchemist... And I liked a few other Coelho novels- especially if I happened to be reading them at just the right time in my life. I stopped reading The Zahir at pg. 200 because I couldn't take any more of the mystical, inner voice, follow-the-signs, journey-seeking cheeseball shit that seems to be this author's bread and butter. I admit, I've enjoyed Coelho at certain times and when in the right mood. But this time it came across to me as an author's regurgitation of the same theme, repackaged so many times that the "wisdom" of his message is diluted down to bullshit or cliche adages. For two hundred pages I convinced myself to read more thinking it was bound to get better, somewhat original, and that the story might move a bit faster. I rarely quit reading a novel after making it more than half way through, but I'm putting this one to rest with no regret; no inner conflict; no mystical voice telling me to change my life's path. I have. But it makes me wonder how many times Coelho has, or if he's transformed himself so many times, that he's made a complete 360 many times over.
Profile Image for Suzie Toumeh.
51 reviews45 followers
February 13, 2017
The very little things that made me detest this book:

I believe that each reader creates his own film inside his head, gives faces to the characters, constructs every scene, hears the voices, smells the smells. And that is why, whenever a reader goes to see a film based on a novel that he likes, he leaves feeling disappointed, saying: “The book is so much better than the film.”

The thing is, Paulo never describes ANYONE or ANYTHING clearly.

In this book although the main character is obsessed with his wife and talks, thinks and remembers her non-stop, you never know her hair color, skin color, eye color, does she have long hair or short hair? what clothes does she wear normally? what color are her clothes?


I actually think his books are THE BEST books to be turned into movies because you can never create your own movie in your head

And here's another part I disagree with greatly

"Do you know what gives a woman most pleasure within marriage?”


“No, making food. Watching her man eat. That is a woman’s moment of glory, because she spends all day thinking about supper"


P.S. I have read other books by Paulo and compared to that crap this book is way better, good job man. but compared to other writers' books, this is crap.
Profile Image for Ashley Lauren.
881 reviews54 followers
August 3, 2011
This book was nothing like I expected. The back description was misleading - as a novice traveller I saw that the narrator of the book was going to go through "Spain, France, Croatia" etc in order to find the love of his life. Do not be fooled, there is little to no description of these places. In fact, there is no description of Spain at all. Thoroughly disappointing.

Besides that the book itself was... interesting. I admit it is a much different story than I have ever read and I was given some new ideas and thoughts. However I did not find the end fulfilling nor did I feel a great connection with the main character.
Profile Image for AVth3n.
355 reviews71 followers
February 2, 2016
Esta reseña también puedes encontrarla en: Soy gente de libros

No todos debemos ser escritores.

Terminado de leer 03/01/2016

Leído para el 2016 Reading Challenge: #13. Libro de autoayuda

Si tuviese que describir este libro con una palabra, sería: VULGAR. Ya sabemos que Coelho no es precisamente el más afilado de los lápices de la caja a la hora de escribir, sabemos también que sus tramas carecen de sustancia (otro check) pero lo que resulta toda una novedad (al menos para mí, que de él solo he leído “El alquimista”) es que fuese guarro y que usara sus inexistentes habilidades escritoriles, para IDK, ¿justificar? y glorificar la infidelidad. Y por una razón tan profunda como la de buscar “entretenimiento”


Esto mismo.

Entonces, tenemos a un hombre (del que no se aporta más que su profesión, que es la de ser escritor) al que un día como cualquier otro su esposa lo abandona. Y llegamos a esta conclusión después de que una de las pesquisas policiales más brillantes alguna vez planteada se llevara a cabo, o sea, una mujer importante, influyente, en un país del primer mundo desaparece y todos bien. Porque bueno, el marido no la mató porque tiene cuartada y bueno cuerpo no lo hay así que obvio que la mujer simplemente se fue a sus aires. Todos felices, continuemos con nuestras vidas.

A dicho hombre (al que por comodidad llamaré: Pared en blanco) tenemos que tragárnoslo durante trecientas páginas sin que haga nada, pero que paradójicamente está intentando encontrar a su esposa (su Zahir), ser famoso, “escribir” libros acerca del amor, hacer el amor (porque aquí eso a eso no le llama coger, aunque por la cantidad de veces que lo haga hasta con la que vende café en la esquina pudiese indicar otra cosa, pues no) siga escribiendo, siga siendo más famoso, incurramos de forma más bien errática en otras culturas y que párrafo tras párrafo tengamos que recibir tablazos de la brillante perspectiva marca patentada Coelho de todo lo que debemos hacer para que nuestras vidas sean tan maravillosas como la de él.


Not shocked, after all this Coelho we’re talking about.

Poco es lo que queda incurrir en la trama, porque bueno…


Eso mismo; una mujer desaparece, nadie la busca, hay un tipo destinado a glorificar la infidelidad que se pasa páginas y páginas haciendo nada y bueno si me pongo demasiado osada ¿Coelho tratando de glorificarse a sí mismo como escritor? Es decir, ¿qué otra cosa puedo pensar de un “escritor” que escribe acerca de otro “escritor” que dice algo como que: la crítica me odia porque soy rico, famoso y vendo un montón de libros?

Ahora sí, traigan a Fry que estoy shocked

Y como todo es lágrimas, sangre y sufrimiento para el lector, además tenemos que soportar la hueca y vacía escritura de Coelho que dejaría pendejo a un agujero negro, que bien podría emplearse para que mi padre almacenara todos sus cachivaches y mira tú que son bastantes, y con todo y eso todavía quedaría un perpetuo vacío. Aunque bien podríamos usar la bolsa mágica de Hermione, ¿no?

Y algo que me perturba particularmente es que al comienzo del libro, Coelho parece intentar escribir una metáfora. Era una especie de introducción/prólogo, no sé qué cosa, es decir era algo tan difuso como la señal del cable cuando llueve, acerca de la fama, lo que escribe (o escupe sobre el papel) y… bueno eso fue todo lo qué entendí. Involucraba una cuestión de una flecha, una isla y de cómo Coelho es un ser muy pero muy sufrido.

Y bueno, como este “libro” no merece tanto drama a su causa, no me explayaré más. Lo que sí, sé que he dado peores calificaciones (como we were liars con su 0.5) pero creo que debo rescatar algo del libro y es el mensaje que deja como escritor al instarte a escribir tu libro incluso si es lo más difícil que tienes que hacer en la vida, porque teniendo la facultad de hacerlo debes hacerlo porque si no, no estarás satisfecho con ninguna de las bellas alegrías y satisfacciones que te traiga la vida. Así que perras mías, si habemos algunxs con el gusanillo de la escritura en las venas, pónganse a escribir.

Lo bueno: Como ya mencioné, el mensaje de aliento para que escribamos nuestras historias.

Lo malo: “…” ¿…Todo?

Lo feo: encuentro a tipo “pared en blanco particularmente despreciable.

P.S.: No quemo este libro porque es un regalo, y de alguien que “supuestamente” me quiere. En verdad no quiero saber que me regalaría alguien que me odie, tbh.

Canción para este libro: Coelho no merece mi inspiración musical.
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